A convicted murderer has failed in a High Court bid to force prison bosses to move a “bullying” gang “enforcer” to another jail.
The murderer complained that he was at “risk of serious physical harm” and objected to the presence of the “bully” on human rights grounds.
But a High Court judge refused to order prison boss to transfer the “bully”, who had been convicted of firearms offences.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said such action was not “necessary, appropriate or reasonable”.
The judge said he had to balance the rights of both inmates – and quoted from John Donne’s poem No Man Is An Island as he explained his reasoning.
“No man is an island, particularly in the prison community,” said Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, in a written ruling.
“Human rights legislation is not intended to permit a view of the world solely through the prism of ‘self’, without regard to the rights of others.”
The murderer claimed that while in prison he had been assaulted, subjected to a “history of threats and aggression” – and left with a “stress disorder”.
He argued that Ministry of Justice officials had breached his right to protection in prison by unfairly putting the “bully” in the same jail.
Ministry of Justice officials denied wrongdoing by prison bosses.
Lawyers for ministers accepted that the enforcer was violent but said there was no evidence that he posed a “real physical” risk to the murderer. And they said any general risk he posed was being “appropriately managed”.
They said the “bully” was unaware of the action, not legally represented, and told the judge that a transfer in such circumstances would be “manifestly” wrong.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave today ruled in favour of the Ministry of Justice following a High Court hearing in London in July.
The judge said in the absence of exceptional circumstances, a transfer would interfere with the human rights of the “bully”.
He rejected the murderer’s argument that because the “bully” had “behaved badly” in the past his rights or need should be given “less weight”.
The judge ruled that neither prisoner should be identified.
Lawyers for the murderer said the “bully” was a member of the “notorious Midlands ‘Burger Bar Boys’ criminal gang” and part of a “prison gang which defined itself by reference to Islam”.
They said, in written papers given to the judge, that a prison profile noted how he was “believed to be an enforcer” for the prison gang, was “violent” and “believed to conceal home-made weapons”.
The judge was told that the “bully” had a “serious record for violence”.
He had assaulted prison staff and was rated high risk by jail bosses, said lawyers.
A prison officer had said he used “his Muslim brothers”, who were “basically a gang”, to “bully prisoners”, they added.
Lawyers said a staff note reported how the “enforcer” had tried to “scare and intimidate” the prisoner by saying “his Muslim brothers will get him”.
They said security information referred to the “enforcer” offering the prisoner “safety” by “becoming a Muslim”.
A prison intelligence report noted that the “enforcer” was “bullying people on the wing” and people were “scared to walk around the wing”, lawyers said.
And lawyers quoted from a 2008 report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, which said: “Muslim gangs; if you have a problem with one, you have a problem with them all. If you’re not in a gang you’re in trouble. People are converting to Islam for protection.”